1. Introduction

Part A

A. Problem being addressed

Non-renewable energy is creating more problems for mankind rather than solving it. Prices of gases used for cars and everyday uses are increasing as Fossil Fuels are running out. Fossil fuels are slowly depleting as the population increases heavily and more natural resources are required for daily stuff. In contrast, there are many other renewable energy source such as solar energy or wind energy. Renewable energy technologies are clean sources of energy that have a much lower environmental impact than conventional energy technologies. Also, renewable energy is less likely to run out ever. It can accommodate our future generations. However, most of them are costly and requires the building of a large system to accommodate them. They require much land to build them and of course, with the increasing population, that could be a problem, especially in small countries such as Singapore.

A solution for this is water splitting- a technique to separate hydrogen from water for possible hydrogen fuel cells of the future. Many different ways are going on now such as adding cobalt oxide nanoparticles and light for the water to separate into hydrogen and oxygen. However, the cobalt oxide degrades too quickly. ( University of Houston, 2013) Experiments like this make it unreliable and many would reject this idea, making it impossible for hydrogen fuel cells to be used by future generations. Another way is by using a silicon semiconductor coated in an ultrathin layer of nickel and it could help pave the way for large-scale production of clean hydrogen fuel from sunlight. (Shwartz-Stanford, 2013) However, this requires sunlight therefore, not a good investment. The challenge is to have something low cost yet efficient.

One of the main barriers blocking wide scale use of fuel cells is the expensive catalyst used to produce hydrogen fuel from water. However, an alternate way is making catalyst from a combination of metal compounds. Making catalyst films with a uniform distribution of multiple metals are inexpensive compared to normal water splitting. A good catalyst can lower the amount of electricity that is needed to produce hydrogen and oxygen from water. The hydrogen would then be stored in tanks and fed into fuel cell to produce electricity as needed. (Martin LaMonica, 2013)

Cobalt catalyst is one of the choices presented to us and since it is low cost and not a platinum catalyst, we have decided to look into cobalt catalyst. However, to prove cobalt catalyst's use in electrolysis, we have to ensure the efficiency will be improved when cobalt catalyst is introduced. Therefore, our experiment allows us to investigate this cause.

The independent variable is the presence of cobalt catalyst
The dependent variable is the voltage contributing to the efficiency of electrolysis
The constants are:
(a) The same amount of phosphate buffer
(b) The same breadboard, batteries and magnetic stir plate and voltmeter
(c) Material of electrodes

B. Hypotheses

The hypothesis is: If cobalt catalyst is added, the voltage would decrease which in return, improves efficiency of electrolysis.

Part B

A. Question being addressed

Many racing cars have different shapes and sizes, but which shape can achieve maximum speed? Engineers have been trying to improve the aerodynamics of a car which can achieve a high speed meant for racing.  We are trying to see how the shapes affect the speed of the car, so that we can conclude which shape is the most effective in that purpose (speed).

Some possible factors are the flow field of the front, side walls and roof, underbody gaps. (Tajos, 2002) In modern day, many cars have been built like an aeroplane rather than the basic design of a simple block like car. The record breaking fastest car,  with nose that's as small as possible and was built to have a minimized frontal footprint. Similar to an airplane, the VLC also features its own type of wings that project outward from the car's slipstreamed body to hold the auto's wheels. (Maxey, 2014) Also, simple block shapes can be used in the experiment. These are certain features that are present in modern day racecars which allow them to travel as fast as possible.

When making car designs more aerodynamic, engineers look to the most aerodynamic shape in nature: the teardrop. The teardrop has round, smooth sides that taper off. This configuration is ideal for allowing air to flow by easily, passing around its smooth edges and falling off gently at the end. Cars that closely follow this pattern are more aerodynamic. (curiosity.discovery.com, 2011) The teardrop is also similar to the airfoil shape, engineers presumably looked at the teardrops and wings of birds and used it to design the airfoil. All these are naturally aerodynamic shapes in nature. Birds require a very aerodynamic shape if not they are unable to fly. airfoils are commonly used in every types of modern planes. Similarly, cars can use the airfoil design to increase their speed as it has very little aerodynamic drag.

The independent variable are the shapes and forms.
The dependent variable is the speed of the cars
The constants are:
(a) The type and model of car used
(b) The same track used for the race
(c)  The same data logger and photogates used for data analysis
(d) The same type of styrofoam the shapes are cut out from
(e) The placement of the track (weather, mainly wind factors)

B. Hypotheses

The hypothesis is the sleeker the shape of the styrofoam attached to the car, the faster the car will go

No comments:

Post a Comment